Time Out Market Chicago, the media brand’s fifth North American food hall to open this year, debuted this week in the city’s restaurant-heavy West Loop neighborhood. The three-story, 50,000-square-foot food hall features 18 eateries, three bars, a demo kitchen and a rooftop terrace. Time Out magazine editors curated the selection of chefs and concepts.
The first Time Out Market opened in Lisbon in 2014, and the Chicago iteration is the largest of the recent North American launches.
The massive food hall, with its vaulted glass ceiling, opened just a few blocks from the former site of Fulton Galley. The much smaller, five-concept food hall shuttered a couple of weeks ago—after just five months in business.
“It’s a different scale,” said Joao Cepeda, president and creative director of Time Out Market, explaining why this Chicago food hall is positioned for success. “We’re one of the first players surfing this trend.”
Here’s a look inside Time Out Market Chicago.
1. Order pickup efficiency
The 18 restaurant concepts line the perimeter of the ground floor, turning it into a one-stop culinary destination. Service is fast-casual style: Customers place their order, receive a buzzer and take a seat. When the order is ready, the buzzer goes off and they can pick up their food.
2. High-end dining
While many food halls focus on the lunch crowd, Time Out Market Chicago has put in place many features to make it a nighttime draw. There’s a tiki speakeasy tucked into an upstairs corner from the group behind Chicago’s award-winning Lost Lake tiki bar. And menus include shareable items such as the Fred Flintsone-worthy Maximo Beef Rib from chef John Manion and charcuterie platters from The Purple Pig Salumeria.
3. Reservation breathing room
It can be tough to score a reservation at some of the restaurants represented, but Time Out Market provides tourists and locals alike a chance to try the food from Chicago hot spots such as The Purple Pig, Fat Rice and El Che Steakhouse & Bar. The Purple Pig’s version of PBJ is made with house-cured duck prosciutto and pistachio butter.
5. Menuing mashups
Chef Bill Kim, founder of brick-and-mortar eateries Belly Q and Urbanbelly, melds global flavors in items such as Curry Shrimp & Grits and Caramelized Pork Dumplings at his outpost in the food hall. Kevin Hickey of Chicago’s Duck Inn offers up beef-and-duck-fat hot dogs topped with Mexican elote.
9. Making use of the space
The food hall is open from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m., serving everything from breakfast to late-night cocktails. To make the most of the big space, the Market will host demos and hands-on cooking classes. The Time Out Market in Miami has hosted visiting chefs from other cities, and there are plans to offer similar programming in Chicago.